Tiggy Legge-Bourke started working for Prince Charles in 1993, shortly after Charles separated from Princess Diana. Tiggy, then 28, became wrapped up in the tabloid dramas of Charles and Diana, so much so that journalist Martin Bashir used unfounded rumors about her to secure his infamous 1995 Panorama interview with Princess Diana. The BBC only recently formally apologized to her, agreeing to pay “substantial damages,” to Tiggy, whose married name is now Alexandra Pettifer.
“The BBC has agreed to pay substantial damages to Mrs Pettifer and I would like to take this opportunity to apologise publicly to her, to The Prince of Wales, and to the Dukes of Cambridge and Sussex, for the way in which Princess Diana was deceived and the subsequent impact on all their lives,” BBC Director General Tim Davie said in a statement.
“Now we know about the shocking way that the interview was obtained I have decided that the BBC will never show the programme again; nor will we license it in whole or part to other broadcasters. It does of course remain part of the historical record and there may be occasions in the future when it will be justified for the BBC to use short extracts for journalistic purposes, but these will be few and far between and will need to be agreed at Executive Committee level and set in the full context of what we now know about the way the interview was obtained. I would urge others to exercise similar restraint.”
Given the news, here’s everything you need to know about Tiggy.
Tiggy was raised at Glanusk Park estate in Wales.
She was born Alexandra Shân “Tiggy” Legge-Bourke to parents William Legge-Bourke and Dame Elizabeth Shân Legge-Bourke (née Bailey). Her father William served in the Royal Horse Guards and later became a banker, and her mother Shân was the only child of Wilfred Bailey, 3rd Baron Glanusk. After Wilfred died in 1948, Shân and her mother inherited the 6,000 acre Glanusk Estate.
Shân had close ties to the royal family; she was appointed a lady-in-waiting to Princess Anne in 1987. Tiggy’s brother, Harry Legge-Bourke was a Page of Honour to Queen Elizabeth II from 1985 to 1987. Tiggy also has a sister, Zara, who was previously married to Richard Grosvenor Plunkett-Ernle-Erle-Drax, and is now married to Angus Gordon Lennox. Zara and Angus live at Gordon Castle in Scotland.
She went to school to be a nursery teacher.
Tiggy attended Heathfield School, an all-girls boarding school in Ascot, then went to finishing school at the Institut Alpin Videmanette in Rougemont, Switzerland, where Princess Diana also went. After graduating, she enrolled in a nursery teacher training course at the St Nicholas Montessori Centre. From there, she taught for a year in Fulham, then opened her own nursery school called Mrs Tiggywinkle’s.
Prince Charles hired Tiggy in 1993.
After he separated from Princess Diana, Princess Charles hired Tiggy as a nanny for his sons, Prince William and Prince Harry. She soon faced controversy, as she reportedly said of Diana, “She gives [William and Harry] a tennis racket and a bucket of popcorn at the movies,” whereas “I give them what they need at this stage: Fresh air, a rifle and a horse.”
Diana disliked Tiggy. In February 1996, Princess Diana wrote to Charles and said Tiggy should “not spend unnecessary time in the children’s rooms… read to them at night, nor supervise their bathtime.”
The princes reportedly thought of Tiggy as their “big sister,” and she frequently joined them on holidays.
Looking back at 1995 Panorama interview drama.
In 1995, Martin Bashir led Princess Diana to believe that the royal nanny was having an affair with Prince Charles, and that she had an abortion. Nearly 30 years later, the BBC is apologizing for the harm done to Tiggy’s reputation.
“The BBC has agreed to pay substantial damages to Mrs Pettifer and I would like to take this opportunity to apologise publicly to her, to The Prince of Wales, and to the Dukes of Cambridge and Sussex, for the way in which Princess Diana was deceived and the subsequent impact on all their lives,” BBC Director General Tim Davie said in a statement. “Now we know about the shocking way that the interview was obtained I have decided that the BBC will never show the programme again; nor will we license it in whole or part to other broadcasters.”
In response, Tiggy said she was “one of many people whose lives have been scarred by the deceitful way in which the BBC Panorama was made and the BBC’s subsequent failure to properly investigate the making of the programme.” She continued, “the distress caused to the royal family is a source of great upset to me. I know first-hand how much they were affected at the time, and how the programme and the false narrative it created have haunted the Family in the years since.”
She briefly resigned in 1997, but officially left her position in October 1999.
She retired from being a royal nanny when she married Charles Pettifer, but she stayed in touch with Harry and William. Among other events, she attended Prince Harry’s commissioning as a Second Lieutenant at Sandhurst in April 2006 and Harry’s wedding to Meghan Markle in May 2018.
What is Tiggy up to now?
She opened a bed & breakfast; it was called Ty’r Chanter Bed & Breakfast in Gliffaes, Wales. It seems to no longer in operation following the pandemic, but there were glowing reviews on TripAdvisor.
“Welcomed with tea and delicious brownies when we arrived. Rooms: ‘home from home’ feel, comfortable and spacious with own bathroom, electric blankets, flowers and turn-down service. Tasty home-cooked full English breakfast with fresh fruit. Tiggy and Charlie could not be more charming, helpful and gracious. Happy to return any time,” wrote one guest.
“Tiggy taught our children how to fly-fish, whilst we were fed-up on homemade treats and cakes. Tiggy is an incredibly generous host and I can’t recommend visiting her one-off bit of paradise enough,” said another.